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BOV Premier League

Early goals lift Ħamrun Spartans

Ħamrun Spartans forward Franklin Sasere rises above a challenge to control the ball against Sliema Wanderers. Photo: Stephen Gatt

ĦAMRUN SPARTANS  3

Mbong 1

El Bakhtaoui 17

Sasere 62 pen.

SLIEMA WANDERERS  1

Goncalves 55

ĦAMRUN SPARTANS H. Bonello-6, D. Gojkovic-6, J. Mbong-6.5, A. Oyama-6, S. Borg-6.5, F. Sasere-7 (86 K. Micallef), M. Fedele-8, J. Corbalan-6.5 (80 J. Soares), P. Djordjevic-6 (86 C. Mercieca), E. Marcelina-6 (69 L. Gambin), F. El Bakhtaoui-6.

SLIEMA WANDERERS D. Cassar-6, R. Schiavi-4, G. Aquilina-5, J. Mintoff-5 (83 O. Elouni), M. Scerri-6, J. Engerer-6 (84 R. Kisil), D. Holla-5.5 (59 E. Agius), M. Piciollo-5 (70 V. Berisha), M. Beerman-6.5, J.C. Goncalves-6, M. Davis-5 (70 Y. Uchida).

Referee Malcolm Spiteri.

Yellow cards Scerri, Cassar, Goncalves.

BOV Player of the match Joseph Mbong (Ħamrun Spartans).

Ħamrun Spartans scored two goals inside the first 17 minutes to stroll to a comfortable victory over bottom-placed Sliema Wanderers who moved closer to relegation.

The match was all but settled in that opening part of the match as once the Spartans raced into a two-goal lead, they were in firm control of the match and only some poor finishing thwarted them from a bigger margin.

After the break, Sliema did manage to pull a goal back but any hopes of a comeback was soon ended by Spartans who restored their two-goal lead to seal their second successive win.

Ħamrun Spartans took the ground running and it took them just 39 seconds to break the stalemate.

Matteo Fedele picked up Faissal El Bakthaoui’s pass and quickly served Joseph Mbong who turned past his marker and blast a shot past David Cassar.

The Wanderers looked stunned and the Spartans came close again on 13 minutes when Fedele’s shot from the distance was deflected just wide. From the ensuing flag-kick, taken by Fedele, Sasere saw his header tipped over by Cassar.

The Spartans doubled their lead on 17 minutes when Mbong’s cross was flicked by Sasere into the path of El Bakhtaoui who beat Cassar with a firm drive.

It was all Spartans and on 28 minutes, Cassar had to be alert to push away Sasere’s shot.

Sliema finally threatened four minutes from the break but Myles Beerman’s inswinger flashed just wide while a minute later Martin Davis sped clear but fired over.

Ħamrun should have added a third when Sasere broke through and looked to have beat Cassar but Beerman was on hand to clear off the line.

Sliema reopened the match on 55 minutes when in a quick break, Jean Carlos Goncalves beat Bonello with a low drive.

But Ħamrun took just six minutes to restore their lead when Mbong fell under the challenge of Mark Scerri inside the area and from the spot Sasere sent Cassar the wrong way.

Eighteen minutes from time, Mbong pounced on Schiavi’s poor control to move inside the area but was denied by Cassar.

At the other end, Edmund Agius was unlucky to see his shot coming off the bar.

Eight minutes from time, it was the Spartans who were denied by the woodwork when El Bakhtaoui’s rasping drive came off the bar.

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